A View from the Top

While walking a hilly neighborhood with Hubbypants tonight we chatted about a trail booklet he received from our county parks system.

To my surprise, the trails we've walked recently were rated strenuous.

Really? I've been walking strenuous hills?

Hot damn, I'm a rock star!

Well, maybe like the D list version of rock stardom. 

I'm sure there are plenty of hikers and exercise enthusiast who would snort while "pfft"ing over the rating, thinking it more of a brisk stroll. 

But those naysayers can't take away my zen...they can't take away the fact that I've stood on the top of my own personal mountain.

A year ago Hubbypants and I started walking Communications Hill, a community near us with two pretty significant hills. The first time we walked them together I knew death was imminent. At the very least, I wanted it to claim me so the pain in my lungs would cease.

When I got to the point of walking the hill without an ambulance following close behind, we tackled the stairs...almost 300 of them. They never got easy, but the did get easier.

Then, we expanded our walk to include the other hill...the steeper one. Two hills, one walk...please let the paramedic look like George Clooney.

But, I never needed a paramedic. I went from stopping a couple of times up the BIG hill, gasping for breath...readY to keel over, to continually increasing my pace, stopping less and less and then...the biggest win of all...doing the whole thing with no stops. Not only that, but I can now hold a conversation all the way up AND my recovery time when we reach the top is practically instantaneous. 

I am not at my peak fitness level. I don't even know what that might look like, nor if I'll ever achieve it.

But, right here...right now? I've reached an endurance level I never thought possible at this point in my life. I'm still 60+ pounds overweight and hauling every last ounce of it toward the sky.

I can't describe how it feels to turn around to see your car sitting there in the parking lot several hundred feet below you, looking like something from a Matchbox toy collection. 

I never thought I'd hike over 6 miles in a day. But, I did it twice in one weekend.  

I never thought I'd reach the top of a steep hill and think, "That's it? Oh...that wasn't so bad". 

Some of those hills still kick my ass and I have a stream of obscenities coursing through my head as I'm walking up them. I know I've reached a new level of fitness when I can leap straight up in the air and OVER a snake slithering across the trial without stepping on it. That, my friends, is a feat I never would have dreamed possible after already walking up some really steep hills. But, it happened just last weekend.

But when I finally get to the top? It's transforming in a way I can't describe.

It burns. It hurts. It makes you want to kill the person who talked you into doing the hike.

But...when you've convinced yourself that you'll never accomplish such a thing only to find yourself the master of that task - standing on top of it - you feel as if all those other walls you've created to corral other parts of your life are not as solid as they seem. They are merely doors with knobs that just need you to turn them and walk through to a whole new level of you.

Some of you will read this and think, "There is NO WAY IN HELL I can walk up a hill, on a trail, in the woods." Yeah, you and me both. I'm not just saying that...it really was me, Hubbypants can attest to that. but, that's o.k. Your door may not look like mine. Your path may not have rocks and snakes. Those walls you think are 10 feet thick and made of brick? Look closer...they are like a Hollywood movie set. They're merely an optical illusion. It's your movie, you're the director. Where is it going to lead you?

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